Beyond the likes of the well-known Chinatown and Little India, Singapore is also home to some more ‘off-the-beaten-track’ neighbourhoods which are well worth exploring!
Tiong Bahru: the oldest housing estate in Singapore, this quaint community is an eclectic mix of old and new. Steeped in history, its transformation began in the 30’s and some of the landmark buildings from that era still stand today with Streamline Moderne-inspired architecture. In recent years, younger generations have moved in and there are now many trendy cafes to choose from like Forty Hands serving up speciality coffees. There's also independent bookstores such as Books Actually, and fashion boutiques like the quirky Nana & Bird selling international womens, kids and homewear brands.
Holland Village: the former home of British Army personnel and their families, the European influence can be seen across this area of Singapore. The main stretch of Lorong Mambong is a bustling street of hip bars and eateries but there’s also modern art galleries and homegrown retail outlets. Head to Chip Bee Gardens, a former military estate, for some beautiful architecture on display.
Jalan Besar: on the east side of Singapore, this vibrant neighbourhood is known for its café culture where you can spend the afternoon hopping from one spot to another tucking into hearty brunch plates and modern takes on local cuisine. The district is also making its name in the coffee market - Chye Seng Huat Hardware is well-known for its artisanal brews and The Refinery fuses a mixology bar, design workshop and restaurant all into one space.
Joo Chiat/Katong: this colourful neighbourhood is home to Peranakan shophouses and a scattering of colonial bungalows, all just a 10 minute drive from the city centre. With endless culinary choices, traditional shopping opportunities and cool cafes, you’ll need more than a few hours to fully enjoy this vibrant area. Don't miss Rumah Bebe which offers Peranakan food and clothing or Kim Choo serving delicious traditional dumplings.
Spend the evening amidst the bright lights and soaring, ultra-modern architecture of the bustling Marina Bay. Grab a seat at Marina Bay Sands’ Event Plaza to watch Spectra, a captivating extravaganza of lasers, lights and water. The nearby Gardens by the Bay is another amazing place to be at nightfall when the spectacular 50-metre-tall structures of the Supertree Grove come to life in a kaleidoscope of colours.
For something a little bit different, why not head to Mount Faber where you can spend an unforgettable evening overlooking spectacular views. Half the fun is the cable car ride; with amazing views along the way. Once you reach the top, Faber Peak has trendy bars and restaurants for you to relax with a cocktail while enjoying some of the best views in the country.
Singapore’s art scene is a colourful mix of local works made more diverse with internationally renowned artists performing throughout the year. National Gallery Singapore is the region’s newest and largest museum of modern Singapore and Southeast Asian art and the ArtScience Museum is where you can catch world-class touring exhibitions and see the worlds of art and science collide.
Whether an avid foodie or an explorer of urban culture, Singapore’s diverse tapestry of experiences is bound to enchant. Inspired by many different religions, culture and communities, Singapore’s architecture is a result of many influences and can be seen across the cityscape. Visit Thian Hock Keng Temple, the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore, to see the unique Fujian architecture or for something more modern, head to the Assyafaah Mosque which avoids the use of domes and minarets for an altogether Singaporean identity.
Get in touch if you want any further advice or tips for Singapore or would like a trip pricing up.